in honour of the Holy Abbots
This feast is particularly Benedictine houses. The texts of the Mass, and the musical setting exists only for this Mass. We do not know the last time this Mass was sung, but it is our privilege to be able to offer it again.
Saturday 7th December saw the celebration of a very particular Mass in the Shrine. It was in honour of the Benedictine Abbots Richard Whiting, Hugh Faringdon, and John Beche, together with the four other Benedictine Martyrs, including two from our own monastery at Glastonbury, Richard James, and John Thorne.
There were many things that made this Holy Mass extraordinary. First it was in the ‘extraordinary form’, which means that it was in the traditional rite of the Church, the type of Mass that these holy Abbots would have celebrated everyday of their lives, and which is celebrated every day by our community. Second it was extraordinary because the texts of the Mass itself are very particular. They are only sung by Benedictine monks in this country on this one feast day. The diocese of Clifton keeps a similar feast in the middle of November, but the texts of the Mass are different. So, it is most probable that this Mass has never been sung in this place of martyrdom. Third, it was sung by the Community of Our Lady of Glastonbury, Diocesan Benedictines, in the presence of the former Abbot of Buckfast, Abbot David Charlesworth, and Br Hugh, representing the Abbot and Community of Prinknash. Finally, and there will be an article on this in a future magazine, the Community of Our Lady of Glastonbury was given by the Abbot and conventus of Prinknash Abbey a most precious relic: the reputed arm bone of Blessed Richard Whiting. As the deed of gift says, this is to strengthen the links of love and fraternity between our two communities and monasteries, and to impart Blessed Richard’s heavenly intercession upon us all here.